July 2, 2020 -Islamabad: Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted a virtual briefing on the country’s social protection response to COVID-19, Ehsaas Emergency Cash program that brought together heads of diplomatic missions, Ambassadors, High Commissioners, Country Representatives and Charge de Affairs from around 60 countries. Dean of Diplomatic Corps, H.E. Atadjan Movlamov was also present. Briefing foreign diplomats, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar who heads Ehsaas program reflected on various dimensions of the USD 1.16 billion program particularly the scale and design, speed of deployment, transparency safeguards and real-time evaluations that are hardwired in the success of Ehsaas Emergency Cash. She apprised all participants that the program has provided one time cash assistance (USD 75 each) to 12.30 million families in just 11 weeks, following rule based approach. Diplomats richly praised the Ehsaas Emergency Cash that it took lead in radically expanding social safety nets to help mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 in Pakistan. They offered broader collaboration to the government of Pakistan to further expand this apolitical program. Closing the briefing, Foreign Secretary, Sohail Mehmood acknowledged the success of Pakistan’s social protection program and said that another interaction will be planned very soon to share the final report of Ehsaas Emergency Cash.
July 1, 2020 – Islamabad, Pakistan: Ending poverty and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals is at the heart of the government’s vision for Pakistan. This was the key message delivered by Dr. Sania Nishtar to the United Nations yesterday in a speech to the General Assembly on behalf of the Government of Pakistan. Dr. Nishtar, who is Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation and head of the Ehsaas program, delivered the speech via video link as part of the virtual inauguration of the Alliance for Poverty Eradication, a new global body designed to address poverty from all possible angles, and serve as a forum for networking, information-sharing, and bridge-building. The Alliance for Poverty Eradication is a flagship initiative of the President of the UN General Assembly, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, who also spoke at the event alongside UN Secretary-General António Guterres and representatives including Heads of State from over 30 countries. Dr. Nishtar was one of the opening speakers along with Secretary General Gutteres, President Buhari of Nigeria, and President of ECOSOC. Dr. Nishtar’s full speech can be watched here.
June 29, 2020 -Islamabad: The federal government has successfully completed the Ehsaas target of emergency cash disbursement among 12 million daily wagers with overall disbursement of Rs. 145.29 billion across the country. Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar took to the twitter to celebrate the achievement of this Ehsaas milestone. In her tweet, she said, “Given the overall success of Ehsaas Emergency Cash and its massive demand amid these unprecedented times, the government has set out a new target of over 16.163 million beneficiaries. In the following tweet, she added, “Emergency Cash distribution to the deserving would continue after June 30, 2020. The payment process under Ehsaas would continue till disbursement of financial assistance to over 16 million lockdown affected people in line with the set target.”
June 26, 2020 -Muzaffarabad: Addressing a ceremony in Muzaffarabad, the Prime Minister Imran Khan announced Ehsaas Cash Package for all 138,275 families living in 219 villages close to the Line of Control (LoC). Under the specialized cash assistance package worth Rs. 3 billion, all the resident families along the LoC have been declared entitled for the Ehsaas Emergency Cash and Ehsaas Kafaalat programs. Women of all those families would receive monthly stipend of Rs 2,000 besides an emergency cash of Rs 12,000. Speaking to the valiant families living beside the LoC, the Prime Minister stated, “I am grateful today that we have been given an opportunity to help the people living around LoC braving hardships and economic losses due to cross border firing.” The ceremony was attended by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan, Ali Amin Gandapur, Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) President, Sardar Masood Khan and Prime Minister AJK, Raja Farooq Haider. PM also gave away Ehsaas Cheques to the entitled families from LoC.
June 25, 2020: UNDP Regional Innovation Hub in Bangkok organized NextGenGov online Summit – Asia Pacific with policymakers from across Asia to capitalize on sharing of experiences with regard to innovations in governance & public service delivery in the COVID-19 context. Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation was a speaker at a session themed, “Voices from Governance trenches: 5 bureaucrats from 5 countries”. Dr. Nishtar shared lessons from the real time evaluation of Ehsaas Emergency Cash program. Addressing the summit, she stated, “Real-time evaluation had been embedded in the roll out of the Ehsaas Emergency cash program that is the government of Pakistan’s response to the COVID-19. This was designed to provide immediate feedback from the field so that mitigating action could be taken in real time.”
June 24, 2020 -Peshawar: Dr. Sania Nishtar, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation along with Chief Minister KP, Mehmood Khan and Chairman Saylani Welfare International Trust, Maulana Bashir Farooqui inaugurated the Ehsaas Langar in Peshawar that serves cooked food twice daily to 1,200 people. The Ehsaas Saylani Langar has been opened in front of the main bus terminal. Old Haji Camp Adda is an ideal place for Langar as labourers and daily wage earners congregate to earn daily wages. The government of KP collaborated with Ehsaas to provide the site for Langar. This whole set up has been established in a public private partnership with a zero cost to the government and the partnering trust (SWIT) will manage the production and distribution of food. Dr. Nishtar thanked CM KP, Mehmood Khan and Chief Secretary KP, Kazim Niaz for their collaboration in providing the space for Ehsaas Langar.
June 24, 2020 -Peshawar: During her official visit to Peshawar, Dr. Sania Nishtar together with Chief Minister KP and Chief Secretary KP visited the Ehsaas Emergency Cash distribution site at Government High School No. 1 in Peshawar to observe how the disbursements were being made to labourers, piece rate workers, daily wagers and workers who have been laid off by factories and employers owing to COVID-19 lockdown. They reviewed the payment arrangements at the site and interacted with beneficiaries. Till today, Ehsaas has disbursed Rs. 138.09 billion emergency cash among 11.404 million deserving households countrywide.
June 24, 2020 – Swabi: Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar paid a surprise visit to Ehsaas payment site in Swabi and interacted with people who had come to withdraw emergency cash. Interacting with beneficiaries, Dr. Nishtar commented, “There is a certain percentage of people who have not collected the cash handouts yet despite being eligible and we are trying to ascertain why have they not collected their payments.” She then continued, “Over the weekend, we conducted a survey and found out that many eligible beneficiaries had not received their payment messages from 8171 which is why, SMS messages were resent to all those beneficiaries. I have come here to see, if the payments have begun to all those deserving whom we have sent repeated messages to ensure that they withdraw money at the earliest”.
June 22, 2020 – Islamabad: The Prime Minister presided over a meeting during which he was briefed about commencement of operations through the Ehsaas Rashan Portal. During this briefing, the PM COVID web-portal for donations, and the Ehsaas Langar and Panahgah App were also unveiled. Special Assistant to the PM, Dr. Sania Nishtar conducted the briefing. Federal Minister for Information, Shibli Faraz and SAPM Asim Bajwa were also present during the briefing. The PM’s focal persons on Panah Gahs, Naseem-ur-Rehman and the PM’s Focal Person for the PM Fund, Khursheed Alam also attended. Federal Secretaries and heads of organizations including Furqan Ahmed Sayed from Pepsi Co, Mohammad Ali Tabba from Lucky Cement, Atif Bajwa from Alfalah Bank, Arif Usmani from NBP, Bashir Farooqui from Saylani Welfare Trust and Quraish Mehmood from Urban Properties were also present. Inspiring other donors to come forward and support government initiatives while presiding the meeting, the PM stated, “Transparency is most critical in the use of donor funds; we are ensuring that there is visibility of every penny donated through the PM’s COVID Fund Portal.” Earlier, several donors including Pepsi Co, Lucky Cement, Bank Alfalah and Saylani Welfare International Trust committed to donate cumulatively 12 million meals to deserving beneficiaries by signing MoUs with Ehsaas. These donors have signed MOUs and non-disclosure agreements with Ehsaas and have received beneficiary data for ration disbursement in specific geographies under the Ehsaas Rashan program.
June 22, 2020, Prior to the commencement of operations through Ehsaas Rashan Portal, the donor organizations including Pepsi Co, Lucky Cement, Bank Alfalah and Saylani Welfare International Trust committed to donate cumulatively 12 million meals to deserving beneficiaries by signing MoUs with Ehsaas. In a ceremony organized at Ehsaas offices in Islamabad, heads and senior officials of these four donors signed MOUs and non-disclosure agreements with Ehsaas to receive beneficiary data for ration disbursement in specific geographies under the Ehsaas Rashan program. Witnessing the signing of MoUs, Dr. Sania Nishtar remarked, “The Ehsaas Rashan program is principally a means to link private sector organizations willing to donate food rations, to government verified beneficiaries. The role of government is primarily that of onboarding credible donor organizations, verifying beneficiaries, and providing donor organizations list of verified beneficiaries to conduct targeted disbursement of ration.” The signing ceremony was followed by a briefing to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister appreciated the efforts of donors that have partnered on this important initiative.
June 17, 2020 – Larkana: Prime Minister Imran Khan visited the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Disbursement Centre at Sachal Colony, Larkana. The PM, on the occasion, interacted with emergency cash assistance recipients and inquired about their financial condition, particularly in the context of COVID-19. Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar briefed the PM that the Ehsaas Emergency Cash of Rs. 60 billion is being distributed among a total of 5 million deserving families in the Sindh. Dr. Nishtar then continued, “In Larkana alone, around 185,000 families would be benefited from the Ehsaas Emergency Cash and 115,000 of them have already been provided the cash assistance.” “Total sum of Rs 2.2 billion would be distributed among the deserving families in Larkana and for the purpose about 36 cash distribution centres have been established in Larkana”, she added. The Prime Minister was also accompanied by Governor Sindh, Imran Ismail, Federal Minister for Privatization, Muhammad Mian Soomro, Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs, Syed Ali Zaidii, SAPM on Information Lt. Gen. (Retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Sindh President, Haleem Adil Shaikh. Footage can be watched here.
June 17, 2020- Karachi: Participating in a televised media talk led by the Prime Minister Imran Khan during the visit to Karachi, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar said that the major chunk of Rs 60 billion earmarked for Sindh under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme is being distributed among the 50 million needy families across the province. Adding further she said, “In Categories II & III of Ehsaas Emergency Cash, provincial quotas are population based. However, in Categories IV & V that is funded by PM’s COVID relief fund, all eligible applicants are being supported on PM’s directions. Therefore, deserving individuals in Sindh will gain the most from this apolitical decision as the share of the province has now been increased from 22.45% to 31%.” Further, Dr. Sania Nishtar who leads Ehsaas programme shared the final breakdown of federally-funded Ehsaas Emergency Cash beneficiaries by federating units. She said that the overall number of individuals to be supported under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme has now been increased from 12 million to 16.16 million. The media talk can be watched here.